I would like to think that I teach through Inquiry. I really try to keep all of my work about the kids and their thinking; however, I do find myself still leading discussions more than I would like. Then I learned about provocations. WOW! I know that I have previously blog about this subject but since that time I have tried to use them more. Today in science I did just that (at least I hope I did).
Here is what I did:
1) I got a bunch of experiments working on air and water
Center 1: AIR
Center 2: Water
(note: some of these items were for other provocations)
Center 3: Water Cycle
Center #4: Pollution
I then broke them into groups had books and iPads at the centers and asked them what do they observe? Wow, I couldn’t believe the talk, the focus, and the engagement. Take a look at this shot:
Here the students were so engrossed in what was happening that they didn’t even notice me. They were saying, “cool look its raining!” They were also using the vocabulary that we have been building before this through our watercraft project.
What did I learn?
1) Inquiry (true inquiry) is allowing planned exploration. Students really need time to explore and make observations about the subjects.
2) This takes a lot of planning. I been planning this for some time now (many thanks to my amazing PLN for their help in this). As I have been planning I had to think about questions, get all of the materials ready and even think about possible misconceptions.
3) True assessment. I was amazed at what the students had absorbed through previous books, the Watercraft project and our discussions.
4) Its a lot of fun to watch the joy and engagement of true learning
So if you haven’t done provocations before, give it ago. Its a lot of fun and you would be surprised at what you will learn about your students.
We had a lot of fun this week with some great hands on learning. Sorry no pics my hands were full of crisco… Confused, let me tell you about it. Part of the grade two science unit is learning about how animals change in order to survive. It doesn’t go into too great of detail as in grade four but the students learn that their are adaptations that animals need in order to live. We talk about how some of those adaptations are physical and some are behavioral. To help with this we did two experiments with the kids this week.
The first is call MACKI Hunters: For this game the students became hunters of macaroni, which I had about hundred or so in different colours. I threw these MACKIES onto the field and told them that in order to survive they had to get at least ten in two minutes. Of course they all survived. We talked about why that would be and what could possibly make it harder. The next time, I split the groups up into the three colours (red, blue, green) and then told them to get ten. This ended up having some of the students not surviving. The last time I did it I had three of the students become hunters of the children. All of the students only had to get five but they couldn’t get touched and had to make it back to me in order to be safe. This ended in only three of the students surviving. We had some great discussions about how animals survive and what animals need in order to survive.
The next experiment was understanding physical adaptations. For this experiment you need Crisco, gloves, ice and two buckets of water. You first put the ice in the water and put the crisco in one glove. Side Note: I do find it easier to put the Crisco in a ziplock bag and then another ziplock bag over top of this. This way the child’s hand just goes inside of the clean bag. However, the kids have fun getting messy. Next the students have one hand in the ice water and one hand in the crisco bag/glove and that is in the ice water. Students soon discover how cold one hand is versus the other. They start to make the connection between how polar bears have blubber to keep them warm just like the Crisco does to their hands. As you can tell I couldn’t take any pictures as my hands where also covered in Crisco; however, it was a lot of fun and worth the experience.